We took Jack and Owen to Gettysburg over the weekend (Fiona got to party with G’mom and Jippy). The boys (and we) LOVED Gettysburg.

We had reserved a licensed guide from the visitors center and it worth so much more than the $60 fee….he spent over 2 1/2 hours with us. He drove our car for us (he knows all the shortcuts) and gave a running commentary the whole time. We stopped at various points to get out and walk the battlefield and see some landmarks.

Jack and Owen listened to every word he said, asked — and ANSWERED — questions, and contributed their own opinions and theories about the battle. Our guide was a retired high school history teacher and about halfway through he said that Jack and Owen could have easily passed his 11th grade history exam. He asked if we had early dinner reservations–he said he was having so much fun guiding us and was it OK if he ran overtime.

We got a good overview of the battle and it really makes a difference in understanding the battle to be able to see the landscape.above: Jack and Owen learning about Napoleon cannons and Parrot cannons, rifling and ammunition.

Jack and Owen learning about Napoleon cannons and Parrot cannons, rifling and ammunition.


Jack & Owen next to “Sallie,” the 11th PA’s mascot. Apparently, Sallie wouldn’t leave the field after a number of her unit was killed. When the rest of the unit returned three days later to bury the bodies, Sallie was still there. People leave dog biscuits on Sallie’s memorial.41


Jack and Owen both got Union forage caps and weapons.  They spent a lot of time running around the woods fighting battles. Owen built Fort Sumter in our hotel room out of pillows and was STILL fighting a battle after Jack, Kevin and I were asleep. 5

Soldiers from a confederate Maryland unit demonstrate how to load and operate cannons.

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